MATERNITY LEAVE DURING TRAINING
Some training courses ensure that a discussion about the likelihood that some trainees in the cohort may become pregnant during training is included as part of the induction into training. We have heard from some trainees who appreciated this approach and felt that it created a culture of acceptance for those who took maternity leave during training. Whilst many trainees may not be looking to have children in the future, or in the near future, some trainees may feel like they have put their lives on hold to secure a place on training and would like to take time out of the course to start or grow their family. For some it is planned, for some it isn't, and we feel strongly that both routes should be supported. It may be worth looking to see if the course mention their maternity policy on their programme page. You could also look at the Trust's website to see if you can locate information about their maternity policy. You can review other forums and reach out to trainees who have taken maternity leave at the University that you are at, as each course may differ in the way that maternity leave and return from maternity leave is accomodated. We invite you to use the forums and groups on this site to connect with trainees who are talking about maternity leave on training, and to consider joining the slack forum. Please contact us for information on how to access this.
MATERNITY PAY AND RETURNING FULL-TIME
Information on maternity pay and policies can be difficult to access in advance. It makes sense that you might want to access this for financial planning and working out the feasibility of taking maternity leave on your studies. It can also be really helpful to access these policies when planning your return to training, after taking maternity leave. It is also understandable why you may not feel comfortable emailing your course team directly and asking for this information upfront. Although we would like to see a more accommodating stance for trainees who are considering or actively trying to get pregnant during training, there is still stigma about people holding dual roles of 'parent' and 'academic', particularly during such an intense training course, which can understandably create fear about sharing these intentions.
If you are feeling like this, Google can become your best friend. Google your employing Trust and make sure that the resources that you read are from reputeable sources. Reach out to the HR department within your Trust and see if they will share a copy with you. Consider a Freedom of Information (FOI) Request, or consider asking someone to request this for you, if this feels more comfortable.
Dependent on when a trainee takes their maternity leave, there can be different possibilities for modes of working when you return. However, this can vary between Universities and Trusts. For example, some trainees who have returned in their third year have been able to use some annual leave that they have accrued, to work reduced hours when they return, which had made it feel more manageable. If you'd like more information then please consider joining the SLACK forum and connecting with other trainees who may have exactly the same questions as you, and with some trainees who may have some answers to your questions.